Digital healthcare makes health services more efficient – and patients more empowered
Today, citizens in Oulu can do a lot themselves and get help online when they feel sick, using “Omahoito” (Finnish for “self-care”). Based on the symptoms, the service provides recommendations like self-care advice and offers a direct contact with a chat nurse. While unnecessary visits to the clinic are reduced, this leads to faster availability of help for those who really need it.
More than 100,000 of the 200,000 residents of Oulu use the digital healthcare services at least once a year. Besides saving time, people are really interested in the details of their health. The growing self-awareness and competence of people regarding their health also changes the relation between doctors and patients.
“In the beginning, most of the doctors were against showing lab results to patients,” says Eila Erkkilä, one of the doctors in the Kaakkuri Centre. “You know how professionals are: ‘We know better!’ But the world has changed.”
For Eila, today Deputy Chief Physician at Oulu Welfare Services, “the key is to empower patients to take care of their own health.”